Earlier this week, Madagascar’s transition president, Andry Rajoelina, took off for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attend the UN conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place from June 20 to 22.
The Rio+20 Conference is a milestone as a 20 year follow-up to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Thousands of participants from governments, NGOs, the private sector and other groups, convened at Rio+20 to find solutions to how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity, and ensure our environment’s protection on an increasingly crowded planet to bring us towards the future we want.
While Rajoelina did not hold a press briefing before his departure, Prime Minister Beriziky Omer emphasizes the importance of having Madagascar represented in the comity of Nations. “Everything is a priority when it comes to the interests of Madagascar. We cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the international community […] The participation of the President of the Transition in the conference is a signal about the importance we attach to development and the environment.”
With a personal visit to Rio+20, Rajoelina tends to the needs of Madagascar, and equally demonstrates his awareness towards global concerns.
British billionaire Richard Branson, owner and founder of Virgin Group, visited Madagascar last week to attend the first tourism fair organized by the National Tourism Office in Madagascar (ONTM), and to also work on a project to protect endangered lemurs. Although Branson enjoyed his time in the country, and even took an opportunity to play golf, he also had something else in mind. Branson wanted to open an air route between London and Antananarivo, and seek a lodge on the Big Island to come on Holiday.
To discuss these ambitious plans, Branson hoped to meet with Prime Minister Omer Beriziky during his stay. Before returning to London, Branson invited Beriziky to dinner; however, the Madagascan Prime Minister declined the invitation because he had planned a trip to Toamasina on June 9 to celebrate the 7th annual National Day of Nutrition (JNN), followed by a visit to Sambava on June 11 to meet with vanilla producers.
Beriziky’s priority to tour the provinces over meeting with Branson tells us a lot about his intentions to run in the upcoming presidential election, especially if Transition President Andry Rajoelina and his rival, former President Marc Ravalomanana, are prevented from running.
Anosy, June 12, 2012 — At a press briefing, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierrot Rajaonarivelo (pictured on the left), gave journalists the following statement:
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Madagascar shall inform the public that the heads of state and government of the South African Development Community (SADC) met in a special session in Luanda (Republic of Angola) on June 1, 2012.
Addressing the Malagasy question, the Summit mandated the mediator of the SADC and Troika of the organization to facilitate the dialogue and urgently convene a meeting between Mr. Andry Rajoelina, President of the Transition, and Mr. Marc Ravalomanana, former President of the Republic. This meeting will ensure full implementation of the roadmap and create a climate conducive to holding elections, free and fair.
Taking note of this proposal from the SADC summit, the Government of the National Union had no objection to issuing such a meeting in a third country, after June 26, 2012. It is in fact desirable that everyone can prepare for this national holiday with some peace of mind.
Six soldiers were shot dead last week by a group of dahalo bandits in Madagascar’s Southeastern Anosy region.
After a series of cattle thefts occurred at gunpoint last month, where just about 1,000 oxen were stolen by over 400 dahalo bandits, initial measures were taken to capture the thieves.
Fifty armed military soldiers set off to dismantle the large criminal group in an attempt to reclaim the stolen cattle. During the pursuit, 19 of the soldiers were able to recover 106 cattle, while the other 31 soldiers continued their search for the perpetrators as they fled to the Befotaka region. Following after the bandits, the soldiers found themselves ambushed, with dahalo bandits open firing on the soldiers, spraying them repeatedly with heavy fire arms. Six soldiers were shot to death, with several others severely injured.
In response to the violent shootings, Transition President Andry Rajoelina took action by organizing one hundred more soldiers to return to Befotaka to break up the dangerous group of bandits, and continue recovering the remaining cattle.
With initially only 8 of the 32 Euro 2012 matches scheduled for national broadcasting, the predominant question circulating amongst many Malagasy football fans was, “why only 8?”
Recognizing Madagascar’s lively football culture, Madagascar’s Transition President Andry Rajoelina generously decided to pay, out of pocket, to have the remaining 24 matches from the Euro 2012 games broadcast throughout the country.
In spirit of Madagascar’s upcoming 52nd anniversary of independence (June 26), Rajoelina’s benevolent gesture demonstrates thoughtful consideration for his country. The games will air on TVM (Televiziona Malagasy) throughout this month (June 8-July 1), satisfying previous anxieties for Malagasy fans.
During an SADC Summit meeting earlier this month, the 15 member countries agreed on the essence of facilitating a meeting between Madagascar’s transition President Andry Rajoelina and former President Marc Ravalomanana. Despite a three-year feud since the assumption of Rajoelina’s presidency, both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana expressed cooperation by putting their rivalries to rest .
At the 2012 International Tourism Fair of Madagascar, held on the day following the Summit, Rajoelina expressed his position on meeting with Ravalomanana, stating: “there is no trouble meeting if this meeting will bring peace and stability in the country.” With his country in mind, Rajoelina suggests his willingness to meet with Ravalomanana for a constructive discussion.
Ravalomanana, who is currently exiled in South Africa, indicated that he is “ready to meet Rajoelina at any time, anywhere, to reach agreement on outstanding issues.”
With both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana cooperating with the SADC’s efforts towards reconciliation, the two may soon see each other face to face for the first time in years. What will transpire at their meeting remains an interesting question. Will Rajoelina and Ravalomanana reach an agreement?
Madagascar’s current economic crisis may have finally found its solution. In hopes to regain economic support from its international community, Madagascar’s Transition President Andry Rajoelina takes proactive measures with talks about organizing presidential elections for the coming year.
Since Andry Rajoelina took over former President Marc Ravalomanana’s place in 2009, the US dropped its AGOA deal with Madagascar, arguing that the transitional government was unconstitutional since Rajoelina was not democratically elected. The strong-felt impact which resulted only magnified when Europe followed as well.
In light of their crisis, the UN asked the SADC to coach Madagascar towards new elections. Accordingly, the SADC laid out a roadmap to help Madagascar with their political goals.
Last week, Rajoelina reviewed progress of the roadmap with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Following their meeting, Rajoelina told the press that his country is ready to start organizing presidential elections. Rajoelina met last Friday with the chairman of SADC in Angola to further discuss the roadmap. Madagascar will probably hold elections towards the end of this year or in the early spring of 2013.